Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
An Irish Astronomical Tract (Author: [unknown])

Chapter 40

Concerning animate, growing objects, destitute of sensation.


Every thing which has life, and is destitute of sensation, can grow of itself, for we perceive many kinds of trees on which fruit grows of itself in the woods and hills, although the fruit of trees which human hands plant is more carefully and better cultivated than they. No tree in the world can grow except in its own natural place and climate. It is the seed of objects which have vegetable life and are without sensation, which gives them material generation because God, who made them, desired that they should contain the power of propagation whence would grow for ever in succession their own like corresponding kind; and thus when that seed falls to the earth, it becomes swollen from the wet rain falling upon it.

It is the nature of water to penetrate every body, except an impenetrable one, and the sun having heated that seed, draws its moisture out of it, because it is the nature of the sun to draw up every moisture, and then there grows from that grain, after its being heated and moistened, the natural growth which was, contained in its hidden powers within it, i.e., the germ of a plant like unto the plant from which it originally sprang; and the earth is ever supplying it with moisture in place of the moisture which the sun draws from it, and then a force is generated from those two things189 called "vegetative life190," and veins grow down out of it, the plant called roots, through which it draws to itself the nutriment of the soil. When the sun draws up this moisture, it draws with it the hidden force, and from it are created boughs, foliage, blossoms and fruit, and it continues ever thus growing, until it ceases to grow, and the fruit which is upon it is its seed, and is the germ of a similar plant again.

There are three kinds of growing things i.e., plants: some of them lose their foliage in winter and it comes on them again in summer. The second kind, which does not lose its foliage, either in winter or summer. The third kind


dies, except for one thing, in winter, and from that seed a similar one grows in summer. The great master of philosophers, i.e., Aristotle, says that objects with growth and devoid of sensation are of three kinds—[...] 191